Neil Roberts

2010 Hellman Fellow

Chair of Religion and Associate Professor of Africana Studies
Williams College

Project Title: “Non-State Actors in Dark Times: A Comparative Inquiry into the Rastafari and Carl Schmitt”

“The Hellman Fellowship provided me with essential research funding at an early phase of my scholarly career. Looking back, I can say wholeheartedly that being a Hellman Fellow influenced how I have come to understand the utility of international travel and how support for such travel can have lasting implications for the subsequent formulation of political theory based upon the research findings.” — Neil Roberts

Areas of Expertise
Modern and contemporary political theory, theories of freedom, African-American and Caribbean thought, critical race theory, and politics in literature.

Neil Roberts received his Ph.D. in Political Science from The University of Chicago with a specialization in political theory. A high school teacher, debate coach, and NCAA Division 1 soccer player at Brown University prior to graduate school, Roberts is the recipient of fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation as well as a member of the Caribbean Philosophical Association Board of Directors. His present writings deal with the intersections of Caribbean, Continental, and North American political theory with respect to theorizing the concept of freedom. He is the author of published and forthcoming articles, reviews, and book chapters in The Cambridge Dictionary of Political Thought, Caribbean Studies, Clamor magazine, The C.L.R. James Journal, Encyclopedia of Political Theory, Journal of Haitian Studies, New Political Science, Patterns of Prejudice, Perspectives on Politics, Philosophia Africana, Philosophy in Review/Comptes Rendus Philosophiques, Political Theory, Sartre Studies International, Shibboleths, Small Axe, Souls, and an anthology devoted to the thought of Sylvia Wynter. Roberts is co-editor of both the CAS Working Papers in Africana Studies Series (with Ben Vinson) and a collection of essays (with Jane Anna Gordon) on the theme Creolizing Rousseau (Dec. 2014), and he is the recent guest editor of a Theory & Event symposium on the Trayvon Martin case. In addition to being Chair of CPA Publishing Partnerships that includes The C.L.R. James Journal and books with Rowman and Littlefield International, he is author of the forthcoming book from The University of Chicago Press, Freedom as Marronage (Jan. 2015). Roberts is presently completing A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass for The University Press of Kentucky.